Muscle News Daily May 28 2014, 0 Comments

Got headaches? Turn your attention to the neck

Migraines and tension type headaches are the two most common headaches that frustrates people. A lot of my patients with headaches get great relief when we begin treating the neck, either through massage, exercise or manual therapy. A new study looked at what the prevalence of neck pain is among headache sufferers compared to the person without headaches. The headache sufferers were more likely to have neck pain and neck muscle tenderness. 

I can't tell you the number of times someone tells me that they have migraine headaches, yet treating the neck muscles decreases their headaches. One of the reasons is that the headache may have initially started off as a migraine. Over time, tension headaches begin to arise. The average person comes to the conclusion that the 'migraines' have gotten worse. That's why so many of my patients never think about getting their neck treated for their headaches. A study like this should reinforce the treatment strategy of looking at the neck whenever someone walks in with a headache, regardless of whether it's a pure migraine or not. Most likely, its not. 

Got knee pain? Focus on more than just the knee

The trend towards treating the whole person rather than the local problem is gaining in popularity. However, there is usually a lag between the research and practical experience. That's why this study from Physiotherapy Research International  is so interesting. They took individuals with knee pain who were getting local knee treatments, and put them in an individualized program. The program focused on such things as hypermobility, hypomobility, faulty movement patterns and patellofemoral osteoarthritis.

Based upon the results, the groups were provided with postural and movement retraining, stretching and functional weight bearing, strengthening exercises. They found that the groups that had the individualized treatments added to their local program had further significant improvements. Hopefully more studies will validate the need to offer individualized programs to people rather than a cookie cutter approach. 

What type of deficits should one look for in tennis players with shoulder pain?

Are you a tennis player with shoulder pain, or do you have patients or clients that are tennis players and want to find the most effective ways to train or treat them? The Brazilian Journal of Physiotherapy ( free full article) posted a study on the deficits that tennis players had with dominant shoulder pain. 

Results showed that the players had greater posterior shoulder capsule tightness, internal rotation deficit, external rotation gain, and deficits in external rotation strengths. The results should give us effective treatment or training strategies to identify these deficits and treat them accordingly. 

Got chronic low back pain? Buy a pedometer

Getting someone with chronic low back pain to begin an exercise program is sometimes difficult. There are a lot of factors involved, such as pain intensity, proper education on hurt vs harm, etc. However, something as simple as buying a person a pedometer may be enough to see some changes in physical activity and reduction in pain. A new study looked at the feasibility of using a pedometer and expanding into larger randomized controlled trials.

The trial separated a group of chronic low back patients into exercise and advice, and exercise/advice/ 8 week pedometer program. Surprisingly, the pedometer group had a high rate of adherence to the program. 93% walked for greater than 6 weeks and actually increased their steps / day. The pedometer group also demonstrated an 8.2% improvement in the Oswestry Disability Index score compared to the exercise and advice group (1.6%). 

Walking is often recommended for my patients, but unless we stay on top of the patients, they may sometimes quit early. By adding a simple pedometer, accountability increases. With any type of muscle pain, it's important to realize that the simple things done consistently may produce some great results.